Tao Zhang

Tao Zhang

Special Research Fellow

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

About

Tao Zhang is a soft-matter/biophysics theorist. He is interested in designing novel soft-matter materials with computational modeling. He is also interested in building physical models for biological systems using both analytical analysis and numerical simulations.

Interests
  • Theoretical Soft-Matter/Biophysics
  • Soft Materials - Hydrogels / Polymer Nanocomposites
Education
  • Ph.D. in Physics, 2015

    Syracuse University

  • B.S. in Physics, 2010

    University of Science and Technology of China

Experience

 
 
 
 
 
School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Tenure-track Associate Professor
School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
May 2021 – Present Shanghai, China
 
 
 
 
 
Chemical Engineering Department, University of Pittsburgh
Postdoctoral Researcher
Chemical Engineering Department, University of Pittsburgh
Sep 2015 – Aug 2020 Pittsburgh, USA
During his postdoctoral research fellowship in Dr. Anna C. Balazs group in University of Pittsburgh (09/2015-08/2020), he worked on designing novel soft-matter materials. Design structurally tailored and engineered macromolecular (STEM) gels as soft elastomers and hard/soft materials: polymer networks containing latent initiator sites available for postsynthesis modification (This work is in collaboration with Prof. Krzysztof Matyjaszewski in Carnegie Mellon University); Design 4D printing reconfigurable materials: computational modeling of thermo-responsive gels with elastic fibers, using gel lattice spring model (gLSM); Design novel nanomaterials: computational modeling of mechano-mutable polymer-grafted nanoparticle (PGN) networks.
 
 
 
 
 
Department of Physics, Syracuse University
Ph.D. in Physics
Department of Physics, Syracuse University
Aug 2010 – Aug 2015 Syracuse, USA
During his PhD study under the guidance of Dr. Jennifer Schwarz and Dr. Mark Bowick in Syracuse University (08/2010-08/2015), he worked on biophysics related projects, such as 3D printed droplet networks, cell/fluid membranes and actin networks (rigidity percolation of anisotropic spring networks).
 
 
 
 
 
Department of Physics, University of Science and Technology of China
B.S. in Physics
Department of Physics, University of Science and Technology of China
Sep 2006 – Jul 2010 Hefei, China

Publications

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(2022). Boundary-bulk patterning in three-dimensional confluent cellular collectives. arXiv:2204.07081 (Please contact me for access to the 3D Vertex Model C++ code. ).

arXiv

(2021). Formation of Helices with Controllable Chirality in Gel-Fiber Composites. Polymer, 212, 123191.

Journal

(2020). Understanding the origin of softness in structurally tailored and engineered macromolecular (STEM) gels: A DPD study. Polymer, 208, 122909.

Journal

(2018). Structurally Tailored and Engineered Macromolecular (STEM) Gels as Soft Elastomers and Hard/Soft Interfaces. Macromolecules, 51 (22), 9184–9191.

Journal

(2018). Fibers on the Surface of Thermo-responsive Gels Induce 3D Shape Changes. Soft Matter, 14 (10), 1822-1832.

Journal

(2017). Tailoring the Mechanical Properties of Nanoparticle Networks that Encompass Biomimetic Catch Bonds. Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, 56 (1), 105–118.

Journal

(2017). Effects of Morphology on the Mechanical Properties of Heterogeneous Polymer-grafted Nanoparticle Networks. Molecular Systems Design & Engineering, 2 (4), 490-499.

Journal

(2017). Using Torsion for Controllable Reconfiguration of Binary Nanoparticle Networks. ACS Nano, 11 (3), 3059-3066.

Journal

(2016). Shape-shifting Droplet Networks. Physical Review Letters, 116 (10), 108301.

APS Synopsis News Journal arXiv

(2015). On the Modeling of Endocytosis in Yeast. Biophysical Journal, 108 (3), 508-519.

Journal arXiv

(2014). Mechanics of Anisotropic Spring Networks. Physical Review E, 90 (6), 062139.

Journal arXiv

Projects

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Fibers on Surface of Thermo-responsive Gels

Fibers on Surface of Thermo-responsive Gels

We pattern the outer layers of thin, thermo-responsive gels with elastic fibers to induce 3D shape changes.

Using Torsion for Controllable Reconfiguration of Binary Nanoparticle Networks

Using Torsion for Controllable Reconfiguration of Binary Nanoparticle Networks

We take inspiration from the early Rubik’s cube to design an analogous mechano-responsive system. We focus on polymer-grafted nanoparticles (PGNs), where each rigid nanoparticle core is decorated with a corona of polymer chains. The free ends of these chains encompass reactive functional groups that allow the polymers to form “arms” between neighboring particles and thus, interconnect the PGNs into a network. In effect, these polymer arms act as the elastic bands and the nanoparticles correspond to the individual blocks in the toy. Using computational modeling, we show that by applying torsion to this material, we can achieve significant control over the arrangement of a binary mixture of nanoparticles and hence, tailor the nanostructure of the composite.

Shape-Shifting Droplet Networks

Shape-Shifting Droplet Networks

Taking a cue from biology, researchers have engineered materials that, through self-assembly, fold into designated geometries. Recent work showed that sheets of aqueous droplets can assemble into a variety of three-dimensional shapes. Expanding on this result, Mark Bowick and collaborators at Syracuse University, have now demonstrated theoretically that such droplet networks can be programmed to reversibly switch between different shapes. This finding is a step toward biologically inspired robots that can change their shape according to their environment.

Endocytosis in Yeast

Endocytosis in Yeast

We have constructed a theoretical model of endocytosis in yeast. Recent experiments on endocytosis in yeast demonstrate that the actin cytoskeleton plays a crucial role in the deformation of the cell membrane. However, competing ideas remain as to precisely how the actin cytoskeleton organizes itself to help drive the deformation. To begin to resolve this controversy, we mathematically model clathrin-mediated endocytosis in yeast using variational methods and Monte Carlo simulations. Our results also suggest that the pinch-off mechanism may be assisted by a pearling-like instability.

Mechanics of Anisotropic Spring Networks

Mechanics of Anisotropic Spring Networks

The actin cytoskeleton gives the cell shape and support, is crucial for cell locomotion, and participates in cell division. To study the mechanical properties of the actin cytoskeleton as modeled by rigidity percolation (disordered spring networks), we have analytically and numerically studied disordered spring networks with an underlying anisotropy, i.e. where the filaments are preferentially oriented along one direction. We found, for example, that the increasing the anisotropy, increases the filament density required for a nonzero shear modulus (rigidity).

Talks

Tube formation in fluid membranes
APS March Meeting 2014
On the modeling of endocytosis
APS March Meeting 2013

Contact